THE TEAR GARDEN
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pre-order June 23, 2017
official July 7, 2017
US CD / 2xLP / MP3 Metropolis Records MET1096 / ? / ?
- Strange Land
- The Stars On The Sidewalk
- Amy’s personality
- Calling Time
- On With The Show
- Sinister Science
- Lola’s Rock
- Kiss Don’t tell
- A Private Parade
- The Sound Of Space escaping
- Seven Veils
- Artwork – Peter Clarke
- Bass [Additional] – Ryan Moore
- Bass, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards, Electronics [Devices] – cEvin Key
- Design [Assembled] – Simon Paul
- Engineer [NL] – Raymond Steeg
- Guitar – Martijn De Kleer
- Mixed By, Mastered By – Greg Reely
- Percussion [Additional] – Dre Robinson
- Violin, Viola – Patrick Q.Wright
- Vocals [Vox], Keyboards – Edward Ka-Spel
- Voice [Small Voice] – Alice (tracks: 8)
4-panel Digipak case.
Pledgemusic supporters were shipped orders before the release date.
And there was a pledge option for the CD that included a signed sticker by cEvin Key and Edward Ka-Spel.
It’s been nearly 50 years since the first Brown Acid Caveat was issued to a million hippies in a field at the first Woodstock Festival. In these dark, more-knowing times The Tear garden felt it was the perfect moment to mark their 30th Anniversary with a similar warning, especially as their first album back in 1987 bore the declaration, “We Will Pour Our Jars in Reservoirs” on the cover. In fact, we were joking. Despite the madness you may perceive all around you right now, those jars were stashed on the highest shelf of a kitchen cupboard and the key was tossed into the ocean. Our sole wish is to introduce beauty to the medieval landscape we appear to be trapped in right now. There will be no brown paint splashed around. Beauty survives, even underneath the ugliest, heaviest rock. This is The tear Garden’s 8th record and is testimony to an enduring friendship that spans the aforementioned ocean. After 8 years, The Tear Garden (the psychedelic/experimental/electronic project of Edward Ka-Spel of The Legendary Pink Dots & cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy) return with “The Brown Acid Caveat”, the culmination of the duo’s 31 years of working together. Psychedelic electronic melancholia, fearless experimentation & improvisation combine to take the intrepid listener on a mesmerizing voyage of the mind. Feel the Love. Don’t touch the brown acid.
How to characterize The Tear Garden, the more than 30 year collaboration between Skinny Puppy’s Cevin Key and The Legendary Pink Dots’ Edward Ka-Spel? The threads that make up their discography aren’t hard to identify; there’s a baleful wit couched in heartbreak and a melancholic psychedelia that are easy to spot on every LP, EP and non-album track with few exceptions. But just being able to identify those repeated moods and ideas doesn’t get us any closer to understanding the essence of what these two friends have together, or how their divergent musical paths keep leading them back together to make such lovely music.
The Brown Acid Caveat is the first LP of new material since 2009′s Have a Nice Trip and in contrast to that record’s jammy experimentalism (a thing both Edward and Cevin excel at unsurprisingly), the songs here feel more purposeful and concise. Even when the songs stretch out past the seven minute mark, their deliberate construction hearkens back to the latter era-Nettwerk Tear Garden albums, when many of LPD’s members were involved in the project. Probably not coincidentally, some former Dots – guitarist Martijn De Kleer and dub maestro Ryan Moore – are present here, although it’s unclear to what extent they pitched in or influenced the proceedings. That said, opener “Strange Land” hearkens back to 2000′s underrated Crystal Mass, playing out as a sad travelogue through places real and imaginary, all carried by delicately strummed guitars and Ka-Spel in the wounded sage persona he’s been growing into since his very earliest recordings.
Indeed, while the group has always thrived on a mix of straight songwriting and trippy outer space journeys, Ka-Spel and Key are working hard to reconcile those ideas here. Functionally that means you get more than a few songs, like “On With the Show” and “Kiss Don’t Tell”, that start fully formed before slowly unravelling into ambient tapestries of modular synthesizer, samples and reverb. And while every song feels as though it could go in that direction, The Tear Garden do show some restraint, allowing the lovely repeating synth figure of “A Private Parade” to play itself out fully before swapping in a solo that lands somewhere between a violin and a theremin. Especially pleasant is the excellent “Calling Time” (which features one of Ka-Spel’s best bits of contemporary wordplay “I’ll serve until it’s time/I’ll serve until this bar runs dry”) which marries a propulsive bassline with off-kilter mechanical percussion and a bubbling lead, all delivered in a relatively trim 4:29.
Still, while this is unmistakably a Tear Garden record, from the dubby half-spoken “Sinister Science” to the cathartic exotica of the string-infused “Seven Veils”, we’re no closer to insight beyond simply identifying familiar components. And maybe that’s where some of the magic comes from really. It occurs while listening Ka-Spel crack a little while he partakes in cute rhyming games on plinky-plunky closer “Object” that the Tear Garden is almost an in-joke, an insular and obscure province charted by two long-time friends who found a creative unity many years ago and have never let it go. It’s their trip, but we still have the privilege of being guests, and that can’t help but still feel somewhat special.